DIGITAL SPORTS REAL MONEY
16-year-old Kyle Giersdorf won more than what Novak Djokovic took home from his Wimbledon victory two weeks ago
There is no denying that esports is gradually becoming a big deal. With IT giants ready to splash big money to sponsor tournaments, playing video games is not just a hobby anymore. The introduction of games like Fortnite, PUBG, Counter-Strike, DOTA among many others titles, the e-sports industry is predicted to top the $1 billion valuation mark in 2019, up by a staggering 27 per cent from last year.
Due to the huge money involved, people now don't look at video games as just a source of entertainment but also as a profession. Individuals who excel at these multiplayer games often get hired by professional esports teams or some talented individuals come together to form one.
Lately, there has been a surge of players in the Indian E-Sports scenario, with the introduction of PUBG, an enjoyable battle royale game but most importantly free to play on the mobile platform. Lakhs of Indians play this game on a daily basis which has led to tournaments being organized with huge prize pool. The latest being PUBG mobile India tour 2019, which has held last July with a prize pool of 1.5 Crores.
A PUBG like battle royale game named Fortnite dominates the console and PC gaming space. Even celebrities, athletes stream the game on platforms like Twitch, YouTube etc. Fortnite is the most popular video game in the world, with 250 million registered players. The game is so popular because of its free-to-play model, with the developers making their cash via V-Bucks, the in-game microtransaction currency that people can use to upgrade their characters and unlock features.
New York's Arthe Ashe stadium hosted Fornite's first-ever world cup, the same venue which hosts the Grand Slam US Open every year. The game developers spent a whopping amount of nearly $100mil to organize the tournament including staging 10 weeks of qualifying leading towards the tournament.
An estimated 40 million players from all over the world took part in qualifying out of which 200 from 34 different countries qualified and were flown over to New York for participating. Every participant got a minimum of $50,000 each from the $30 million prize pool. The winner in the solo category, 16-year-old American- Kyle 'Bugha' Giersdorf, received the astounding prize money of $3 million. The prize money being more than what Novak Djokovic won at the 2019 Wimbledon or Tiger Woods at the 2019 Masters.
The arrival of esports at the world stage is imminent. With the 2022 Asian Games announcing it as a medal event while sporting organisations like the Premier League, Formula 1 having their own esports league, the potential of this industry is endless both financially and otherwise.